Face it, we all struggle with getting things done. There are some items we put on the “To Do” list that we simply resist doing. Right?
People resort to putting things on the To Do list that are already done just to check them off and get the feeling of accomplishment. Admit it, you’ve done that.
There are tasks that sit on the list for days or weeks before they finally get tackled.
What do we discover most of the time when we finally start pushing those boulders out of the way?
First, we find that they are fairly round. That means they move easier than we thought they would. The dread exceeded the reality of the task.
The next thing we find is that once moving they are fairly easy to keep moving.
We always find that boulders get rolled out of the way sooner than we initially dreaded. The big task that we thought would take all day required only a of couple hours.
Finally, we get a great sense of satisfaction out of being able to check that ‘big ugly’ off the list.
So what do we see in the big task almost every time? They are easier to do and take less time than we fear and it feels good to get them done.
None of that is original. It’s not original to recommend that you resolve to just get started! Decide to start! Meh.
You can break it down into baby steps? Yuck. I hate that one. You’re not a baby. You can do this thing without stumbling around like a baby. Besides, most of the time breaking a task down into small steps is just another excuse to put it off! Really?
Say you should call that customer and go over each step of the project but gads, that’s no fun and he’s not happy anyway. Then he’ll cancel and you’ll have to deal with that! So, break it down? Uh, step one, pick up the phone….no, wait, step one, write down what to cover on the phone. Step two, pick up the phone, no wait. Step two, send email suggesting we talk by phone. That’s it! I can sort of check it off. He’ll write back, set a time….meh. Oh come on. We’re not talking about big projects. We’re talking about “To Do” items we put off. Big projects need to be broken into incremental steps.
I ask you just to consider something. This will only help if you actually do it…but it will help.
Smash the damn boulder.
Think about what gives you the most satisfaction in your work. Is it the easy, dull, mindless crap you have to do every day? Or is it the hard, difficult stuff that only you can do?
Smash the boulder.
Anybody can take a baby step.
You can smash the boulder.
Think about the satisfaction you’ll get from knocking this one so far out of the park they will never find the ball!
The bigger the boulder, the more you’ll enjoying smashing it.
Look at your list.
Pick out the biggest, baddest and ugliest thing on that list and smash it right now.
Here’s a bet. Within 10 minutes of starting to smash that boulder you will be totally absorbed in the task. You’ll enjoy it more than the 99 things you used to avoid working on that task. You just will. Think about the times you enjoy your work.
We like smashing big boulders a lot more than picking up pebbles.
Go smash a boulder and let me know how it felt.
Chris Reich, TeachU